From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Morrison’s got big plans. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is starting to sound more like the defence minister-in-waiting with every press conference and interview he gives (not many). He has even begun making announcements about defence commitments in the Syria-Iraq and Ukraine war zones. He has “militarised” the Immigration Department with the ad hoc addition of Operation Sovereign Borders headed by Lt General Angus Campbell, who is responsible to him, not the Defence Minister David Johnston. Morrison’s supporters in the hard Right of the NSW Liberal Party believe Morrison is better placed to ascend to the leadership from the Defence portfolio, not Immigration. If Morrison covets the Defence post, so does the Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert, MP for Fadden on the Gold Coast, a former senior army officer. His friends are telling everyone who will listen that Robert will the next defence minister in the Abbott cabinet.

Palmer’s jets Coolum. Residents of the Sunshine Coast suburb of Coolum are meeting tomorrow to discuss their objections to a $1 billion resort to be built by Japanese developer Sekisui House, and Ms Tips is wondering if one high-profile local will make an appearance. The resort, which is supported by the local mayor and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, is opposed by some locals because of its height and the effect it will have on the natural environment, but we doubt member for Fairfax Clive Palmer is all that keen on it either. It’s set to sit on David Low Way, right across the road from Palmer’s own Coolum Resort, where business is alleged to be slow. The new development would also be closer to the beach than Palmer’s dinosaur park, creating more competition for the ailing resort. Newman has spoken out publicly in support of the Japanese developer’s plans — is this yet another chapter in the personal animosity between the premier and the man who plans to unseat him at next year’s election?

Guess who’s not coming to dinner. It’s always awkward when you invite someone to your party and then realise you really wish you hadn’t. After yesterday’s news that Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly, now expelled members of the NSW ALP, were among the members that had received an invite email from former NSW general secretary John Della Bosca to a dinner celebrating the career of Bob Carr, Crikey received the following response from a senior officer of the NSW ALP: “Mr Tripodi and Mr Kelly have not been invited by our NSW Labor Head Office and will not be welcome to attend the event.” Hope you hadn’t already picked out your outfits, fellas.

#bookwatch. As the politics and media world gears up for the political autobiography to rule them all, one bookshop has already sold out its launch event for former PM Julia Gillard’s My Story. While that in itself isn’t unusual, the bookshop in question is the Berkelouw bookshop in the northern Sydney suburb of Dee Why, putting it on the edge of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s seat of Waringah and Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s seat of Mackellar. Who would have thought Gillard had enough fans in Sydney’s northern suburbs to fill a bookshop? The launch in her hometown of Melbourne is yet to sell out, but of course there’s quite a difference between a bookshop and Melbourne’s Regent Theatre.

Leyonhjelm staffing whispers. When gun-loving Senator David Leyonhjelm announced that Helen Dale (previously Demidenko and Darville) was his new staffer, he touted her as “an outstanding lawyer, she’s topped her class both in Queensland and at Oxford,” but one of our tipsters wonders if Leyonhjelm was really on the money. Our tipster questions whether Darville really was top of her class at Oxford, as Leyonhjelm claimed. In other Leyonhjelm staffing news, it has been reported that he has a former federal treasury official as a staffer, and we have news on who that may be. Our tipster at first thought the official in question may be right-wing activist Des Moore, but when asked Leyonhjelm flat out denied Moore was on staff. When asked if the staffer was in fact John Stone, our tipster received no response. If it is Stone, also a former Queensland senator, he’s certainly making the most of his working years — Stone is 85 years young.

Paparazzi. Former kingmaker Tony Windsor was spotted enjoying cheap and cheerful Italian on Melbourne’s Lygon Street last night. He looked relaxed in a bright-red fleece jumper as he chatted to two older gentlemen. We hear he’s in town to organise a new book. Crikey‘s spy did her very best to overhear the conversation, but came up short despite sitting rather close to the former MP (the joint was full to capacity and rather loud).

Close, but no cigar. The anniversary of 9/11 has produced heartfelt responses from many people,  but none more compelling than that of comedian Dan Ilic on Twitter:

Why? What was so upsetting on September 12, 2000 Dan? The death of Mexican actor Juan Ibanez? Vladimir Putin’s defence of Russian military action in Georgia? The release of Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space, an album released by Venezuelan  band Los Amigos Invisibles? We are eager to know. Perhaps it was skinning your knee hauling yourself onto the wrong bandwagon?

R U OK? at RMIT. We hear that as part of R U OK Day yesterday, Melbourne’s RMIT university sent a group of spruikers around the campus in yellow T-shirts to draw attention to the cause. Only problem is that the university is in the middle of student elections, and campaigners saw a group of people in coloured T-shirts and mistook them for a rival faction. We hear the group, who were attempting to gauge the OK-ness of students, drew the ire of some campaigners, and instead of asking others R U OK? probably needed to be asked themselves.

Staffers at Curtin Uni. In more student politics news, we hear that a group of ALP and union staffers received an official reprimand from security at Perth’s Curtin University after appearing on campus at around midnight on Wednesday night. It’s student election week at Curtin, and we hear that the group, which contained a staffer from Senator Joe Bullock’s office and officials from the HSU and SDA, were on campus in an attempt to help their younger mates win votes. While we’re not sure how many votes there are to gain at that time, we hear new posters appeared and others defaced on the same night. Sometimes it seems our politicians never grow up, and it seems like we might be onto something there.

Mind your manners. This video has been released by the Department of Immigration to show asylum seekers what behaviours are expected in Australia. Ms Tips wonders why the government has never thought to issue such advice to citizens who “grew here” (to borrow a phrase as sickly as the video). We sure know some who would benefit from it.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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